Gold Coast Health keen to expand fetal alcohol spectrum disorder services Queensland-wide

Dr Doug Shelton treats young patient.
Photo: Dr Doug Shelton treats a young patient as part of specialist services for children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (Four Corners)

Gold Coast Health is hoping to expand its specialist services for children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder across Queensland.


The director of community child health, Dr Doug Shelton, has discussed the proposal with Queensland Health Minister Cameron Dick.

Dr Shelton helps run Queensland’s only service for the disorder, which is caused by a baby’s exposure to alcohol or drugs while in the womb.

He told Mr Dick, a statewide program could be run from the Gold Coast.

Dr Shelton said the Health Minister committed to supporting the idea but had not discussed funding.

“I think the Minister was very positive about the fact the Gold Coast had developed a strategy to get this up on their own,” he said.

“So the Gold Coast is hoping to use health service dollars but also philanthropic dollars.”

Dr Shelton said he hoped an expanded service would provide help for children and their parents who were affected by the disorder.

“We have at least a three-pronged hope there,” he said.

“One is about prevention, so we’d like to cut down or entirely prevent the number of babies that are exposed to drugs or alcohol in utero and for those who are exposed we’d like to provide early diagnosis and for the ones that are diagnosed we’d like to provide early help and assistance.”


Disclaimer:  The views and opinions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Edmonton and Area Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Network.

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